A Lesson in Context

There have been several occasions over the last few weeks where I have thought “I need to blog about this”.  Alas! the troubles and travails of vet school!  Five tests in the span of two weeks (although I am not trying to complain) would stifle even Michelangelo’s creative talents.  However, here is a short note I just had to get out between classes this morning:

This past Sunday, one of the college students “guest-taught” the Sunday School.  His topic was Wisdom and the Call of Salvation.  I don’t want to get into the particulars right now because they are irrelevant.  What I do want to address is the use of a verse out of context – a practice that sadly happens too often in America’s churches.  2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”  The student pointed out (with strong emotion) that this verse discredits the view that “God loves some people, and not other” or that “God wants some people to go to heaven and others to hell”.  While I disagree that these two statements enumerate in any form or fashion the Reformed position, I will leave that dissertation up to smarter people than I.  My point is simply the misconstrued interpretation of this verse.

Who was 2 Peter written to?  Well, let’s look at verse 1 of chapter 1: “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”.  So this book is written to believers, to those who have already been called by God and are partakers of His grace.  So, then, let’s look at verse 3:9 again:

“…patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

Who is the “you” in this verse?  It would be the same group that Peter has referred to this entire book – the elect, the believers.  So who does God not want to perish?  The elect.  The believers.

Just one more thought that might make this easier to understand.  If I were to stand up in the middle of a group of people and exclaim, “I don’t wish that any of you should be left out, so you should all come to my house for lunch!”  What does the word ‘all’ mean in this instance?  The whole of the human population?  I hope not or else I’d have to order more spinach creme puffs.  Just to say, you have to read a portion of Scripture in light of the context and how language works.  Just because I say everyone should come over does not mean literally, everyone.  Just because I say I love peanut butter and eat it all the time, does not mean I walk around with an IV drip of Jiffy.  And just because a verse can be construed and distorted to give the appearance of support to your doctrinal position, does not make it Truth.


About becklegacy

Emergency Veterinarian by night; Crossfit athlete by day; Redeemed work-in-progress by the Grace of God.
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